Tales of the Indian

Gotham museum hosts 'Smoke' preem

Miramax Films co-chairman Harvey Weinstein and Winona Ryder hosted a special screening of Miramax’s “Smoke Signals” June 23 at Gotham’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Sherman Alexie, who wrote the screenplay and the book that inspired the film, said “he felt like a 16-year-old girl” when he saw Ryder’s date, Matt Damon. “I got all ‘Tiger Beat’-y,” confessed Alexie. “I wanted to ask him what his favorite color is.”

Alexie told the audience that after he published “Tonto and the Lone Ranger Fistfight in Heaven,” he waited for an Indian director to call him so they could bring the book to the bigscreen. Four years ago, Chris Eyre made the call.

“This is the first feature film written, directed and co-produced by Indians to receive any kind of distribution deal,” Alexie said. “This proves Indians can make movies. It’s not an affirmative-action program.”

Also attending the screening of the Sundance prizewinner were helmer Eyre and stars Adam Beach, Evan Adams and Irene Bedard (who was the voice of Disney’s “Pocahontas”) and “The Opposite of Sex” star Christina Ricci. Following the film, the three-woman band Ulali serenaded the crowd with American Indian music.

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